Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Madison Wisconsin August 1st - Sept 11th 2013- Chapter One

"Mad City" some call it, a college town within striking distance of Milwaukee and Chicago, and rightly so because this town and surrounding area offer some of the strangest sites in Wisconsin. I have been working on a project in Madison from the 1st of August through September 11 ( when I flew back to Tampa, Fl) and have a few reports to post on this less thought of section of America.

The capital building downtown Madison during a Saturday farmer's market in early September.
The first chapter of this tale is about the cultural gulf between the midwest and Florida concerning graffiti. The laws in Madison are particularly harsh when it comes to graffiti. It is as if the policy makers looked around the country, saw some situations they did not like, and adjusted local laws to head off the street artists. In my view it would be far more interesting if every wall was a possibility and such activity were encouraged rather than vilified.
The landscape becomes a bit complex when some murals are actually sanctioned by the local "powers that be" in a sea of very low tolerance for the practice. But, with these obstacles in the path, there is something to be said of the artists that find those opportunities to create a work of public art.
Enter Dolla. With a little research Dolla found a business with a wall that is exempt from Madison's rather strict control over graffiti. Mother Fool's Coffeehouse - http://www.motherfools.com/ - has a wall that artists can use to bring their vision to the street, if only for a month or two, until the next mural goes  up ( or rather over ).
Dolla is an Orlando based artist by way of New Jersey. My conversations with him have lead to a deeper understanding of what modivates muralists to create these temporary works of public art. In many ways the drives are the same as what I recognize in myself, a desire to open up a conversation with the viewing public using unexpected techniques. So, here I will document his process, with a surprise ending.
Day 1- basic lay out. The wall and knee wall to the left had already been based out black.

Day 2- The mural begins in ernest. 

Once the mural was complete it was not the end of the project. A few weeks after the mural went up Dolla enlisted the aid of several coworkers to create a pile of gold treasure to leave at the mural site.
So a pile of items painted metallic gold was left like a offering to the neighborhood or the gold hoarding demon pictured in the mural. I especially liked this fluidly evolving work after the gold offering. It is a classic artist intervention and I only wish we could have had a camera on the site to see how the viewing public reacted.

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